Assessment and field learning

When designing a course or a study program it is essential to decide on what we want the students to learn. But what do the students actually learn? Ideally we would like this to be as close as possible to the intended learning outcomes for the course, right!  Here it is important that we use assessment tasks that are representative for the intended learning outcomes 


A lot of the learning that students achieve in the field is related to experience, senses and thought which makes it difficult to assess with traditional assessment methods like written exams.


In the project FieldPass we will develop, implement and evaluate new methods assessing learning outcomes related to field activities.


Field teaching is a core learning activity in several scientific disciplines. A range of learning outcomes related to field activities are stated in both course- and program descriptions, but very few are assessed. Much of the learning students achieve in the field is related to tacit knowledge and transferable skills, and is perceived difficult to assess. The main aim of the FieldPass project is to promote course alignment in field teaching, in particular through the development and evaluation of new assessment methods. The project has three focus areas:


  • Develop digital bridges – from preparation to assessment. We will extend and further develop the use of virtual field guides and virtual reality (VR) technology to both prepare and extend field work, and test VR technology as an assessment tool.

  • Certification of skills. UNIS is building up local field laboratories, where a range of instrumentation is co-located, and many variables are known. We will utilize our field laboratories to develop a frame work for assessment/certification of methodological skills.

  • Reflection as assessment tool for process-related learning goals (i.e. project development, team-work, trouble-shooting). We will extend and further develop the use of e.g. reflective diaries, blogs, structured dialog and student interviews to document and enhance process-related learning goals.

FieldPass is funded by the Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education (DIKU), starts in 2019 and runs over three years. The project is coordinated by UNIS, with the Department of Education and Department of Biology at the University of Bergen as partners.